Independent Safeguarding Authority
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 came into force for the Protection/Safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children and is called The legislation provides a mechanism for investigating potential concerns, reaching decisions on whether a person is a threat or potential threat to vulnerable adults/children and of preventing a person from working with vulnerable adults/children if that person is found to be a threat.
The Independent Safeguarding Authority is a public body sponsored by the Home Office and established under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
The initial ‘safeguarding’ process involves pre-employment checks and registration. The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) is involved in this process and these enquires are often referred to as CRB searches.
These pre-employment searches will include disclosure of any convictions and cautions.
In certain cases the CRB search may include details of acquittals or other information. The purpose of the CRB search is to provide information to an employer/organisation about an applicant/employee who is or may be working/applying to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.
The CRB search will also include information as to whether the individual is already included on the ISA List (previously called the POVA/POCA list/List 99/Red Alert) and/or whether the individual is subject to any other direction, eg a Disqualification Order made within the criminal courts.
The ISA process: Referral
- to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) raising concerns about the individual working with children and/or vulnerable adults.
Where the referral is from an employer there may already have been a disciplinary investigation.
Note - If a person resigns before a disciplinary investigation has been concluded then the employer may still refer.
The referral should be on the basis of potential misconduct (which is not actually defined within the legislation). Incompetence or a mistake is not in itself misconduct. Investigation
- The person will be contacted with particulars of the referral which may be in the form of statements/letters or a formal questionnaire completed by, for example, the employer.
The individual has the opportunity to provide a written response to the allegations.
The complainant will have the opportunity to comment on an individual’s response, and is likely to do so. Decision/Judgement
- If, after consideration of the information supplied, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) determines that the person is unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults/children then that person will be barred from working with children and/or vulnerable adults.
This may mean the person looses their job.Appeal
– There is a right of appeal (to the Care Standards Tribunal), which includes the right to ask for an oral hearing.
Simpson Millar LLP can help with ISA investigations and Care Standard Tribunal appeals.